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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

G8 SUMMIT 2008

At People's Summit, NGOs plug the voices of 'ordinary' people

Staff writer

SAPPORO — Domestic and international nongovernmental organizations ended their three-day People's Summit on Tuesday vowing to keep pushing "rich" Group of Eight leaders to heed the voices of ordinary citizens.

News photo
The sky's the limit: Wearing masks caricaturing the Group of Eight leaders, members of international relief group Oxfam hold aloft balloons Tuesday in Sapporo representing per capita amounts of carbon each of the G-8 countries emit. AP PHOTO

"The G8 leaders from the world's richest countries decide on the most important (policies) for the Earth," said Masako Hoshino, who chaired the 2008 Japan G8 Summit NGO Forum, which organized the People's Summit.

Hoshino stressed the importance of joining with citizens' groups worldwide and conveying the voices of the public to the G8 leaders.

While pleased that NGOs were able to talk directly with key government figures, including Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, before the summit, she cautioned that the groups must be careful not to form cozy ties with governments.

"We must always be aware that (NGOs and the government) have different positions and must not fall into a collusive relationship," she said. "And who knows, there may not be a G8 summit next year."

Hideaki Uemura, head of the Citizens Diplomatic Center for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, expressed disappointment that human rights and peace were not main points on the G8 agenda, as was climate change and development.

"The fact that (the G8 leaders) do not include human rights as an official topic shows the true character (of the summit)," he said.

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The Japan Times

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